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SF’s winning output done in many forms

SF’s winning output done in many forms
Messenger Sports
South Fulton manufactured more than enough runs in the first four innings to beat McKenzie.
The fifth frame showed that the Red Devilettes can hit the ball, too.
SF took a 2-0 lead without the benefit of a hit, scoring a run in the second inning and another in the fourth, and then used five hits to score four times in the fifth inning in a 7-0 win over McKenzie in the Region 7A Tournament semifinals Monday evening at the SF field.
Now 35-4, the Devilettes will play at least two more games in the 2012 season, beginning Wednesday at Huntingdon in the championship game.
The Fillies earned the showdown with an 8-0 win over Union City.
Win or lose, South Fulton will play Friday in the sectional game, a berth in the TSSAA Class A State Tournament the prize for the winner.
“The hitting gets better from here on out,” said SF head coach Curt Lee, a postseason veteran. “The pitching gets better, too. There won’t be six or seven runs. It’ll be more like one or two.”
Lee will take it, if he gets another solid effort from his pitcher.
Haley McKinney tossed a complete game scattering seven hits while striking out 12 and walking just one.
“Haley pitched really well,” Lee said. “They crowd the plate, and she was able to get it right in on their hands. We’ll see that again Wednesday, so we hope we have umpires who will give is that inside pitch.”
McKinney’s first five outs were Ks, spread around three hits. She fanned leadoff hitter Ashley Wallace, third batter Emma Arnold and clean-up hitter Riley Toombs twice each. Brooke Baucum and Savannah Pratt also whiffed two times.
While McKinney was keeping the Lady Rebels off-balance, the Devilettes were moving runners around the base paths for a 2-0 lead.
Aalia Bivens led off the second with a walk and then stole two bases, scoring when Savannah Larson grounded out.
Two innings later, Bivens was hit by a pitch and came around when Sara Reams reached on a throwing error by Wallace.
South Fulton then broke out in the fifth, beginning with a one-out double by Kacie Daugherty.
McKinney, Marina Barclay, Bivens and Reams all singled. SF scored four times and left the bases loaded, taking a 6-0 lead.
SF’s seventh run, coming in the sixth, was a product of small-ball as well as Daugherty walked, stole second, moved to third on Barclay’s pop-out and scored on a wild pitch.
“We had an inning where we put two or three hits together and scored some runs,” Lee said. “We took advantage of some situational things earlier in the game to score. Some of our better hitters didn’t do particularly well, but we scored out of the back of our lineup. As a coach, that’s good to see.”
SF got six hits off Baucum, who also walked six and hit two batters while striking out four.
South Fulton will be playing in its 15th regional championship game all-time, including the 12th in Lee’s 14 years as head coach.
The Red Devilettes have 10 regional titles and six state tournament berths in the program’s 22-year history.
Defending state champion Riverside and Trinity Christian remain alive in the Region 8A tourney and will play Wednesday at Riverside.
The TSSAA Class A State Tournament will be played at the Murfreesboro Sports Complex and McKnight Fields beginning May 22.
Sports reporter Kevin Weaks can be contacted by email at Published in The Messenger 5.15.12